Summer’s Last Hurrah . . .

“…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”  – Oscar Wilde

As seasons go, summer is my favorite season!  There is a relaxed and slower feel to everything.  Barbecues, amazing flowers, color everywhere, and of course the beach.  This year our summer began with a trip to the west coast.  We visited Washington State, Oregon and California.

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Congratulations Kayleigh and Dylan!

Our trip began with a family wedding in Snohomish, Washington. From there we drove down the Pacific coast through Oregon, with our final destination in San Francisco.  A trip of a lifetime, in my opinion.  If you ever have the opportunity to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, I highly recommend it!

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The remainder of the summer seemed to fly by quicker than I could have imagined.  Most summers we visit the beach quite often, this year however, we became first time grandparents, therefore every weekend was filled with fun visits with our grandson.  He was too young for the beach, or heat in general, so this summer was a bit different from the norm.

Summer will be a faint memory tomorrow, since today is Labor Day and the unofficial end to summer.  Once September arrives most of the tourists trickle to a mere few, giving people who live near the beaches their solitude with the beach and ocean once again.  I wanted to share some photographs from yesterday.

We began our morning in Ocean City, NJ

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We ended our evening in Brigantine, NJ.

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To quote my husband, “I could sit and listen to the sound of the ocean forever!”

I hope you all had a wonderful summer and now I guess, we must celebrate the arrival of Autumn in a few short weeks.  The stores are already filled with pumpkins, fall decorations and Halloween costumes.  Sad really, but time does march on quicker than we want it to.  Happy Fall Y’all!

Have a fabulous week ahead. Until next time . . .

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Every Life Has a Soundtrack . . .

“When you’re standing in the moment, every life has a soundtrack.” ~ Brett Eldredge

In this hectic world we live in, there never seems to be time to slow down and just enjoy life.  As a child, cell phones, computers and social media did not exist. My sister and I colored, rode bikes, and played in our swimming pool.  My mom discouraged us from being inside, unless the weather was bad.  Instead we were encouraged to be outside and enjoy the fresh air, albeit, sometimes it was a bit hot, our only rule was to return home in time for dinner.  That was how life was thirty plus years ago.

Continue reading “Every Life Has a Soundtrack . . .”

California with a slice of Mayberry . . .

“Mayberry is a State of Mind.”

Nestled in the rolling hills of Western Sonoma County, California, Brian and I found ourselves, after a very long day of driving, at the Valley Ford Inn in Valley Ford, California. Continue reading “California with a slice of Mayberry . . .”

Dear Pen Pal . . .

Good Friends are like Stars.  You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.

I wait with nervous anticipation, our first face to face meeting EVER! After nine years of knowing someone and never having met them in person, today is the day!  Brian and I anxiously wait at Starbucks in Carmel, for Carolyn and Jim.

We arrived a bit earlier than they did, as I sat at the table nervously tapping my foot, Brian asked me ” Are you excited?”  “Yes!” I answered. We have been on the West Coast for a little over a week, and today, at long last, I will finally get to meet Carolyn and she will get to meet me.  What will our first impression of the other be? Will we like each other as much as we do in our phone conversations, our joint blog posts and the numerous texts we send each other throughout the day?  Hardly a day goes by that I don’t speak to her in one way or another. She and I have become so close, it’s as if we have known each other for most of our lives.

If you did not read the prior blog before I left for the West Coast, you can read it here.  Carolyn and I decided after posting our “before the meeting” blog, that once we met, we would post a second blog describing our first actual in person encounter.  So this it!  I linked Carolyn’s blog here, so you can read her impression of our encounter too.

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California Sea Otter State Game Refuge

I can tell you that when we first saw each other, it was so exciting and we did not stop hugging each other for a few minutes.  We were like two long lost friends, standing in the middle of Starbucks, in everyone’s way, just hugging, looking at each other, then hugging some more.  Once the initial realization that we finally met each other subsided, we moved over to let people pass by and then grabbed another coffee and set off on our adventure.  Carolyn and Jim are from California and they were going to be our tour guide for the day.  We were going to ride along Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Big Sur.  Carolyn wanted to show me some spots that she had previously photographed.  We also stopped for breakfast and some conversation.  I was a bit nervous about Brian meeting Jim, I knew Carolyn and I would have plenty to talk about, but I wasn’t sure about Brian and Jim, they had never spoken to each other, let alone spend a day together.  My fears soon vanished,  they had so much to talk about and got along so well.  Which was nice, because Carolyn and I would disappear for a while photographing, talking and just being the closest pen pals we could be.

One of the spots Carolyn wanted to show me was the Bixby Bridge, which to my surprise, my husband actually knew about this bridge and he super exited to see it.  I’m not sure if he was more excited than I was?  The morning turned out to be quite overcast and foggy, so the beautiful blue sky we had come to adore surrounded by the Pacific Ocean was not to be had this morning.  Beautiful photographs can also be taken in cloudy and foggy weather, sometimes this type of weather gives a more moody feel to a photograph.  The weather did not deter either me or Carolyn from photographing any of the places she had chosen to show us.

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Bixby Bridge – Big Sur, California
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Big Sur, California
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Big Sur, California

One last photo, I found it so difficult to chose what to post, but honestly, I could be here for days, editing and positing all of the amazing shots I took in Washington, Oregon and California.

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Big Sur, California (yes, that is a kayaker in the water!)

The final stop on our journey this amazing Saturday morning was a waterfall Carolyn said was small but quite beautiful.  So we all got back in our cars and continued our ride on the Pacific Coast Highway meandering down then up the winding road.  One thing I can say, if you have never driven on this picturesque road before, it can be a bit unnerving.  There are points in the road that you almost feel as though you have lost your bearings, you look up and sometimes all you see is sky and water, both blending together, appearing as tough there is no definition between the two.

One of the highlights of the trip, came on our last day, my visit with Carolyn.  Not to say the entire trip wasn’t amazing, because it far exceeded my expectations.  My husband planned for months, researched and chose what locations to visit and what hotels we would stay in.  I have to say, he did a magnificent job!  Thank you Brian, for showing me a part of this country I had never visited before.  With that said, thank you Carolyn, for posting a photo of a “dead” flower all those years ago, that is what started our wonderful friendship, so Thank you!

Thank you for stopping in, I hope you enjoyed my photos this week.  Until next week, have a great week ahead everyone . . .

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In the beginning . . .

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Many years ago, in another galaxy, just kidding! Really though, many years ago, I embarked on a journey called photography.  I didn’t know then, that it would become a hobby that would encompass my entire being, but it has.

On this journey, I met someone while taking an online class, who has become such a close friend, even though we have NEVER met in person.  I guess you might call her my pen pal, or in today’s world it’s more of a phone/Instagram/blog relationship.

Carolyn and I met while taking an online class at BetterPhoto called Understanding Digital Photography.  It had received my first digital camera for Christmas, and didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I thought this was a logical  place to begin.  During the class Carolyn posted a photo of a dead flower, and for the life of me I could not understand why anyone would photograph a dead flower. From this photograph would bloom an amazing friendship that I’m sure neither of us could have imagined! Today, I completely understand why she photographed this dead flower and I’ve been known to photograph a few myself.

It’s been nine years since Carolyn and I became friends and this month we will finally get to meet each other in person.  My husband I will be traveling out west and one of our stops is California.  Carolyn, and her husband Jim will meet us for a day of photography, lunch and an afternoon of conversation.  I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to finally meet her!

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Maine 2010

We both thought that posting a blog about this encounter and our journey would be interesting.  We agreed to post photos we’ve taken along the way to show our progression from where we began in comparison to where we are today.  Looking back was sort of fun, to see what I loved photographing eight years ago in relation to what I love to photograph today and how far I’ve come in so many aspects of photography. Time has a funny way of changing you, making your grow and looking at things a bit differently. During the past nine years, I’ve lost my job, had cancer, my daughter got married, and I became a grandma in April.  Quite a bit of activity going on and through it all our friendship has become stronger.  We speak a few times a week, consult each other on photographs and life in general.  We bounce ideas off of each other, we are very honest with our critiques of each others work and ideas.   It’s so nice to have someone who can be completely honest with you, knowing that they are doing it out of friendship and love.

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After we have met in person, our intention is to post a blog about our encounter, our photographs and our meeting in general.  I hope you will have a look later in June once we have had a change to edit photographs, write our blogs and relive our “in person” day together.

Until next time, thank you for stopping in . . .

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Pausing Life . . .

“A photograph is the pause button of LIFE.”

On April 29th my first grandchild was born, a baby boy.  He is without a doubt, the most beautiful baby.  He has kept us busy with visits, snuggles and just loving him to pieces.

I took a few weeks away from photography, just to spend time with him, my daughter and son-in-law.  Now that they are getting acclimated to their new life as parents and a family of three, it was time to resume my photography.

I hope you are all doing well, I’m glad to be back.  This week I visited my friend Cheryl, Cheryl has a love for decorating and especially for growing flowers.  Her peonies finally bloomed this week, so I went for a visit this cloudy and rainy Memorial Day.

I photographed her yard in August 2016, the year my daughter was married.  That day the sun was shining and the temperature was in the 90’s, humid and extremely hot, quite a difference from the weather today.  I must say, it was much easier to photograph today vs. the 90 degree day of two years ago.  Of course, August is typically much hotter than May in NJ.

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No words are needed . . .

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Nature gives us such beauty to behold.  The softness of each petal, with the hint of red poking though is breathtaking.  It was nice to get outside and photograph flowers instead of taking photographs inside.  Welcome Spring!

Until next time, stay well . . .

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first beach day . . .

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

I typically photograph still life and flowers, but the weather was nice and I needed to get out and feel the sun, so this week I wanted to share some of the photographs I took in Ocean City, NJ with you.  I hope you enjoy them.  Continue reading “first beach day . . .”

inspiration . . .

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  ~ Helen Keller

Inspiration is an amazing tool in any artists life, it’s where we get our ideas from, where we feel what we express to others.  Inspiration can come from many sources, close friends and/or family, something seen on TV, in a magazine or from friends in a community such as Instagram.  I’ve written before about the amazing group of friends I’ve come to know while on Instagram, most I’m sure I’ll never actually meet in person, yet I feel as though I know them so well.  Continue reading “inspiration . . .”

the gift . . .

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  – Pablo Picasso

Many years ago a family member said she did not understand why anyone gave flowers to another, “all they do is die, such a waste” she said.

This is very true, but all living things eventually die, and what a waste if we do not take the time to enjoy them, even a flower.  God put living things on this earth so they could be nurtured, loved, and yes, enjoyed.

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I find the solitude of photographing flowers to be very therapeutic and inspiring.  It’s a time when I don’t think of the worries in my life, I am in a carefree and worry-less place.  So, flowers have an important purpose to me and I would imagine to many others.  It is one of the first items on a bride’s list of wedding to do’s, visiting a florist for their bouquets, flowers are given to your love on Valentine’s Day, and sadly, they represent a life lived, which has come to it’s physical end.

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For me, I just enjoy the colors, the shapes, the textures and how they smell, some are pungent but most have a heavenly scent.  This week, I bought three beautiful orange tulips from Jennifer at Lilies, I love visiting Jen for uplifting conversation and also her beautiful flowers.

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As the week progressed, I took various photographs of the tulips, noticing the difference in their texture, color and shape. I noticed how as the days went on, and one of the flowers perished, the remaining two flowers became intertwined.  Their stems began to bend toward each other, almost as if they were hugging. I wanted to share those photographs with you, as I took notice of how the flowers changed during the 5 or so days, it reminded me of how people change.  We come into this world so new with soft skin and wide eyes, as time goes by our skin begins to wrinkle and our eyes may droop, maybe we don’t see as well as we once did, but we are still beautiful just as the tulip was beautiful in it’s end stage.

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So you see, everything lives and eventually dies, it may not be physically here with us, but it sure left its mark.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to our visit next week, until then . . .

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landscape or portrait?

“a good photograph is knowing where to stand” ~ Ansel Adams

I was asked for photographs for a large collage frame my daughter was hanging over her couch in their living room.  The frame called for portrait format photographs.  As we looked through the many photos I’ve taken, I realized that I very seldom take photographs in a portrait format.  I am prone to taking photographs in a landscape format, I guess because it just looks more natural to my eye.  Continue reading “landscape or portrait?”